The Next Big Chapter

So 2015 was a pretty interesting one, and also one of the toughest mentally I can remember having to deal with. There was nothing particularly traumatic that occurred, but I discovered towards the end of the year that I’d been building up a huge amount of sub-conscious stress and anxiety. This led to panic attacks, dark clouds, and the struggle to readjust my mind back to who I knew I was before. Cue a stint of counselling, some conscious re-building of my self-confidence, and I’m getting back on track.

A big cause of this was boredom. My life had been pretty non-stop, and university was the peak of crazy multi-tasking. A degree, two jobs, various extra-curricular activities, weekends away. My calendar was always filled, I was never bored, and I thrived under that slightly manic pressure of juggling a million things at once. It’s what gave me energy and kept me driven. When I graduated and started work, I was disappointed to end up living in the photocopier room. My work wasn’t engaging, it barely filled half an average day, and I found myself drifting, searching for something else. Unbeknownst to me this was causing my brain to overthink even more than normal, and instead of day dreaming, I tended towards negative thoughts that were far from helpful. I know, not the most intelligent way to use my time – but it happened without me realising and by the time I noticed what was going on, it’d become a habit of nearly a year.

However, we are no longer in 2015. That year is behind me. I’ve learned a lot, and things started to change in the middle of the year when we decided to leave our flat, I quit London, and we moved into my parents in order to save for a house deposit. Now, we’re on to the exciting part. That next chapter which has required a lot of bravery (mainly on my part), some risks, but the joy of knowing we are doing the right thing.

On the 4th January 2016, I was up in Manchester having taken what was meant to be my first day back at work after Christmas off. I was attending a 2nd interview as a follow-up to a Skype call I’d had just before Christmas. And my goodness was I nervous. Not helped by hormones and the beginnings of a head cold, but I spent the majority of the Sunday unable to move for fear of crying, that night barely sleeping, and Monday morning attempting not to throw up. True to form – and a testament to my Theatre degree – I plastered a confident mask onto my face and smashed the interview. As I always do, I walked out of the office feeling happy with my performance, more in love with the job and company than when I walked in, and convinced that it would be yet another disappointment. The classic “it’s not who you are, it’s who the other applicants were” swimming around my mind. They were all going to be amazing, weren’t they?

5th January 2016, I’m back at work, catching up on everyone’s holidays. Clicking onto my personal emails after lunch (cheeky), there’s something sat in my inbox from the company I’d seen just 24 hours before… with a positively glowing message saying how much they wanted me to join their team. I have a new job. In Manchester. In the Theatre and entertainment industry. Starting in February.

We are moving to the Peak District!

The year I’ve spent stressing about nothing, getting tied up with negativity when my brain’s had nothing else to think about. The eight wonderful months living with my parents (and I mean that with all sincerity and love). The two ISAs slowly filling up with house deposit. It’s all come down to this – just a few more weeks, and then we are starting our new lives near the hills and mountains. Where houses are affordable. Where people always smile and say hello. Yes, rose-tinted specs at the moment but I don’t care. The furthest away from home I’d previously moved was 10 miles. Now make that 200. My other half has quit his job without having his own new position secured yet, so we can begin this next mental, amazing, exhilarating chapter together. We’ve just secured tenancy of a stone-built cottage in a little hamlet overlooking hills, fields and a pub, with a fireplace and big sash windows. The dream.

I’m terrified. A new area, new people (not my favourite), new job. Lots of new at the same time, and I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to handle it all. I doubt I’ll ever get rid of the anxiety for good, but I now know when it’s happening and how to handle it better. The key is we’re going to be in a beautiful place, and we’re going to do it together. It’s unbelievable, and yet we’ve worked so hard to get to this stage. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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